I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest, nonreciprocal review.
I don’t need to go into the details of the story, since the other reviews and the book description have already alluded to this. What I will go into is how I feel the story is put together.
The first, and I feel strongest part of the story is Jando himself. He is a well-written character. I appreciate this being told in first person, as it allows me to see through his eyes and experience some of his emotions. Jando comes to us as a twelve-year-old boy, kind-hearted and innocent. He is curious, adventurous and worried about what is going on in his world. We see conflict build to the point that the suspense keeps us reading to see what happens. We soon realize that war is inevitable, but what happens to Jando and all the people he cares about? The author writes in such a way as to make us want to know.
The second is the reality mixed in with a fictional tale. I am by no means a historian, but it appears that the author has done his homework to write a fictional tale with a historical background. This lends credence to the story, and helps me to learn about his country, from a perspective not often told.
The pacing and suspense are well-placed, and although it is a long book, it doesn’t feel that way. Events unfold at an alarming pace once the war is underway, providing a grim reminder of the true horrors of war.
I appreciate the way that war is not glamorized. The gritty details of pain and suffering, especially when dealt to the innocent, and helpful reminders that war is something dark, something to shun.
Two things I would change about this book, however. First, the title doesn’t seem to fit the gripping, highly tense account told to the reader. It gives no realistic story direction, is not striking, and therefore not memorable.
The second thing I would change is the book’s cover. I understand that bright and bold colors help to associate the book with a certain culture, but again, this peaceful scene does nothing except make for a pretty piece of artwork. That combined with the lackluster title could keep the book in relative darkness, noticed by only a few.
I generally say nothing about a title or cover but in this case, an overhaul is in order. The reason I don’t give it a five-star rating is because of these two things. I feel they are so important that it sways my overall rating for the book.
However, “A Light in the Cane Fields” is well worth the read, diving into the depths of humanity’s lust for blood and revenge, while soaring with dreams and aspirations of peace.